Will Zalatoris held his nerve for a clutch par putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, setting up a dramatic three-hole showdown where he defeated Sepp Straka to claim his first career PGA Tour win.

Straka came into Sunday's final round at 12 under – one stroke off leader J.J. Spaun – while Zalatoris was one shot further back at 11 under with Cameron Smith. When Spaun imploded, going on to shoot Sunday's worst round with a 78, and Smith was handed a two-stroke penalty prior to his round for an illegal drop earlier in the tournament, the field fell away and left just Straka and Zalatoris at the top.

Zalatoris continued to shed his reputation as a poor putter, and he did so in the biggest moments, draining a must-make 10-footer on the last hole to finish his tournament at 15 under, where he and Straka were three strokes clear of the pack – and the playoff was anything but boring.

On the first playoff hole – the 18th, which was playing as the toughest hole on the course – both players reached the green in regulation, and while neither were in true birdie range, Zalatoris had a significantly longer distance to cover. But he showed why he was ranked number one for lag putting this week and was able to tap-in from a foot to head to the second hole.

Replaying the 18th, Zalatoris' tee shot hit the cart path, seemingly handing Straka the tournament, but then Straka put his tee shot so close to the water's edge that he opted to take the penalty instead of trying to hack one out with a foot in the water.

Straka pulled off what would usually be a title-winning approach shot, taking an aggressive line and landing six feet from the hole, but due to the penalty stroke it allowed Zalatoris to chip back out into the fairway and bring his approach to just over 10 feet, where he would sink another incredibly gutsy putt to extend things to a third playoff hole.

After losing two playoffs this season, Zalatoris would have felt the trophy slipping out of his hands when his tee shot on the par-three 11th hole found the rock wall on the fringe of the water. He was not in the water, but the shot was unplayable, meaning a par would give Straka the win – and then Straka landed in the water.

The Austrian's next shot sailed over the green into the bunker, while Zalatoris' second try at his approach was perfect, giving himself another seven-footer for the win, and he made no mistakes.

With the win, Zalatoris avoided becoming the player with the most prize money in a season without a victory, raising his season earnings to over $9million in the process with his $2.7m winner's cheque.

American duo Lucas Glover and Brian Harman finished tied for third at 12 under, while Spain's Jon Rahm, England's Matt Fitzpatrick and Australia's Adam Scott were part of the seven-man group tied for fifth at 11 under.

After his two-stroke penalty, Cameron Smith finished at nine under with rising star Joo-hyung 'Tom' Kim, with Viktor Hovland at eight under, and Wyndham Clark snuck into the next round of the playoffs as his seven under finish moved him up to exactly 70th in the FedEx Cup standings.

American J.J. Spaun is 18 holes away from a wire-to-wire victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship after finishing Saturday one stroke clear of the chasing field, shooting a two-under 68 to head in at 13 under.

After rounds of 62 and 67 had Spaun leading at the conclusion of each of the first two rounds, he opened his round on Saturday with nine consecutive pars, but after bogeying the 10th, he responded with birdies on 11, 16 and 17.

Austria's Sepp Straka was all set to finish tied with Spaun at 13 under before he bogeyed the 18th, leaving him in outright second-place at 12 under.

A pair of serious challengers are part of the three-man group tied for third at 11 under, with Trey Mullinax being joined by potential PGA Tour Player of the Year Cameron Smith and consistent major contender Will Zalatoris.

Zalatoris, specifically, has been in sparkling form after struggling to a one-over opening round, shooting Friday's round of the day with a 63, and only Im Sung-jae posted a better Saturday score than his 65.

In classic Zalatoris fashion, his work with the putter was not pretty – dropping 0.38 shots on the greens according to Data Golf's strokes gained stats – but he thrived from tee-to-green, finishing with the most strokes gained from approach shots (2.90) while coming in third in the off-the-tee category (1.78).

American duo Tyler Duncan and Troy Merritt are tied for sixth at 10 under, while Saturday's top performer Im rode his terrific round to join the logjam at nine under, which features the red-hot Tony Finau and U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Last week's winner Joo-hyung 'Tom' Kim is a further shot back at eight under along with South Korean compatriot Lee Kyoung-hoon, America's Collin Morikawa and Chile's Joaquin Niemann, with Spain's Jon Rahm and Australia's Adam Scott part of the small group at seven under.

After shooting a 62 on Thursday to be the early joint-leader, Kim Si-woo's week has taken a turn for the worst as he followed it with a 73 on Friday and a 72 on his third trip around TPC Southwind.

Cameron Smith holds the 36-hole lead at the 150th Open Championship after a day on which Tiger Woods likely waved a fond farewell to St Andrews.

A stellar 64 from Smith handed the Australian a two-shot lead on 13 under at the halfway point, with Cameron Young his nearest rival, while the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler are firmly in the mix.

But 15-time major winner Woods, who has his name etched onto the Claret Jug three times, missed the cut following an untidy 75, conceding afterwards that he would probably not be returning when the home of golf next hosts the sport's oldest major.

Woods was met with rapturous applause as he made the walk down the 18th fairway, with McIlroy tipping his hat to the American as he headed down the first at the start of his round of 68, which left the 2014 winner three shots behind, level with Viktor Hovland.

After early rain on the Fife coast, the conditions were conducive to low scoring and Smith was one of a host of players to take advantage, with compatriot Adam Scott's 65 moving him to seven under and Tyrrell Hatton's 66 leaving him one better off.

Johnson got to nine under with a 67, one ahead of world number one Scheffler.

Other big names to join Woods in missing the cut were reigning champion Collin Morikawa, six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Smith headed to the par-five 14th on the back of three consecutive pars and looking for something to ignite his back nine to match the fireworks of the front nine.

And my word did he find it. His approach shot found the green but was a long way from the hole, leaving him with surely a lag putt just to put it close enough for a birdie.

But that was never going to be enough for the on-form Smith, who rolled it all the way up to the hole and in the cup for a spectacular eagle. 

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Smith's 64 was Friday's lowest round on a day when his scorecard remained blemish-free.

The 28-year-old's putter stayed hot as he made six birdies and an eagle en route to a score that puts him in firm contention for a maiden major.

CHIPPING IN

Tiger Woods: "This is my favourite golf course. I fell in love with it back in 1995 and it hasn't changed. I just love how it can be played in so many different ways."

Mark Calcavecchia: "Forget about my golf. It wouldn't have mattered if I shot a pair of 75s or a pair of 85s, which I nearly did. It was about playing one more, my last one here at the home of golf, which is really cool to be able to end it here."

Cameron Smith: "I think there's going to be a few more gnarly pins, and I think being smart out there is definitely going to be the key to staying at the top of the leaderboard."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- Cameron Smith's combined score of 131 is a record after 36 holes in an Open at St Andrews.

- All four past champions at St Andrews missed the cut: Zach Johnson (2015), Louis Oosthuizen (2010), Tiger Woods (2000, 2005) and John Daly (1995).

- From his 22 appearances at The Open, this was only the fourth time Woods failed to make the cut.

Collin Morikawa knows it will be difficult to surpass the reception Rory McIlroy received at St Andrews after the world number two's fantastic start to the 150th Open Championship.

McIlroy will head into day two of the tournament just two shots behind leader Cameron Young after carding an excellent round of 66, in which he shot only one bogey.

The Northern Irishman won the Open in 2014, but missed out on the chance to defend his title at St Andrews a year later because of an ankle injury.

Yet he so far looks good to compete for winning his first major in eight years, and his fifth overall, with the 33-year-old receiving plenty of support from the crowd in Scotland.

When asked about the crowd reaction to McIlroy, Morikawa told reporters: "You hear your specks of Collin and specks of Xander, but it's hard to beat Rory."

McIlroy has been seen as something of a leader when it comes to speaking out against the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which has caused a divide across golf, with several elite players choosing to join the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway competition.

Morikawa has also stood by the PGA Tour, though he is pleased to have McIlroy leading the charge.

He said: "I think you know all the guys that have spoke about the PGA Tour. We've all kind of said what we believe. Look, we all support each other.

"That's the biggest thing is like we're all here to play in the PGA Tour and do what we do."

Morikawa and McIlroy played together on the Sunday of the Masters, when the latter shot eight under to make a late charge only to come up short to world number one Scottie Scheffler.

McIlroy has enjoyed top-10 finishes in each of the previous three majors this season, and Morikawa believes he is competing against a player close to the top of their game. 

Morikawa explained: "I mean, Augusta was near flawless. I'm trying to remember if he made even a bogey, I don't think he did.

"Today was a really solid round of golf. Didn't make any errors, hit it in the right spots.

"Overall, it was awesome. That's what I need the next three days if I want to get myself in the tournament."

Morikawa himself could only manage to shoot par for the day, meaning he has much work to do if he plans on retaining his title.

Disappointed with his performance, Morikawa remarked: "I just gave too many shots away on the greens, and it sucks. Sometimes you have those days.

"Today was just hit some good drives and hit a bad second shot, hit some good second shots, hit a bad putt. Never got any momentum going."

"This place is very special, for a lot of reasons. There's so much thinking to this golf course that it's great.

"I think that fits into what I like to do, but at the same time, you've got to execute. And if you don't execute, it's only a game plan."

All eyes in the golfing world will be trained on St Andrews this week as The Open returns for its 150th championship.

The final major of a year of fracture for the sport will bring the biggest names together once more, but who is best placed to take home the Claret Jug?

Five Stats Perform writers have their say ahead of the tournament...

LIV AND LET LIVE? OOSTHUIZEN IS A ST ANDREWS MASTER – Pete Hanson

Is it time to live and let live (or rather LIV and let live)? The proverb is defined as being able to "tolerate the opinions and behaviour of others so that they will similarly tolerate your own", but in the instance of the LIV defectors it is increasingly difficult to accept the decision for jumping ship as anything other than a nauseating money grab. That being said, looking at this through a purely sporting lens, LIV players who have qualified for The Open are allowed to play this weekend and Louis Oosthuizen knows a thing or two about St Andrews. The South African romped to a seven-shot win at the home of golf in 2010 and only lost in a three-man play-off to Zach Johnson at the same venue five years later. He was also leading through three rounds at Royal St George's a year ago before a final round one over coupled with a Collin Morikawa masterclass saw him end up tied for third.

RORY WINNING POPULARITY CONTESTS AND NOW SEEKS ST ANDREWS SUCCESS – Ben Spratt

If the LIV breakaway has made villains of a number of star names, Rory McIlroy is the PGA Tour's hero. With news of each defector, McIlroy has stood firm in his opposition to the Saudi-backed series – all the while stringing together a superb run of form, finishing in the top 20 in each of his past seven entries and the top 10 in each of the first three majors of the year. Rory is a very real contender this week, and there could hardly be a more popular winner. He has unfinished business at St Andrews, too, having tied for third in 2010 and then missed the 2015 event – where he would have been the defending champion – through injury.

RED-HOT SCHAUFFELE IS THE MAN TO BEAT – Russell Greaves

Fresh from his victory at the Scottish Open – where other putative Open contenders floundered – Xander Schauffele is certainly one to watch. Last week's victory at the Renaissance Club, which came despite a two-over-par opening round, came hot on the heels of his triumph at the Travelers Championship, sending the Tokyo 2020 gold medallist to St Andrews as a man in form. The American has also been in the mix at golf's oldest major before, finishing tied second at Carnoustie in 2018, where a final-round 74 ended his hopes of a maiden major. That search will continue this week for the 28-year-old, with the Claret Jug firmly in his sights. 

MORE MORIKAWA MAGIC INCOMING? – Patric Ridge

Morikawa enjoyed a sensational 2021, triumphing at Royal St George's to claim his second major title aged just 24 and becoming the first player to win on his Open debut since 2003. Yet 2022 has so far failed to yield the same success for the defending champion. He went into the weekend with the lead at last month's U.S. Open, only for a wobble on the Saturday to prove costly. After recovering with a fourth-round 65 to finish tied for fifth, Morikawa said he had learned to "just go play golf", although that approach did not serve him particularly well at the Scottish Open, where he failed to make the cut. If he manages to find the composure that deserted him during that dismal third round in Boston, however, then the world number eight cannot be overlooked as a serious contender once again.

CANTLAY CAN COME GOOD ON THE MAJOR STAGE – John Skilbeck

As the rumour mill links him with an LIV Golf switch, Patrick Cantlay is keeping his focus on the course. The American had a win alongside Schauffele in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and has achieved four top-fives and two top-15 finishes in his past seven events, including a tie for fourth at the Scottish Open. The elephant in the room is that Cantlay has mostly flunked the majors this year, tying for 39th at The Masters, missing the cut at the US PGA Championship and trailing home in a share of 14th at the U.S. Open. However, the 30-year-old is not fourth in the world rankings for nothing; his time is surely coming. Florida-based Cantlay ranks in the top five for birdie (or better) percentage on the PGA Tour when finding the fairway off the tee this year but is outside the top 70 when driving into the rough, so accuracy from the tee will likely determine his fate.

World number one Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas all missed the cut at the Scottish Open as Matt Fitzpatrick and Xander Schauffele moved into contention behind leader Cameron Tringale.

Masters champion Scheffler followed up a three-over 73 with a 72 for the second round, putting him 12 strokes behind Tringale, who came back down to earth with a 72 following his stunning nine-under 61 in the opening round, failing to recover after a run of five bogeys in six holes.

Morikawa, who will defend his Open title at St Andrews next week, will also miss the weekend following a four-over 74 that took him to five over. He made the turn four over and a further bogey at the second, and a double at the fourth cancelled out three birdies on his back nine.

US PGA champion Thomas endured a nightmare day at The Renaissance Club, carding eight bogeys and a double for his 77, which dropped him to 10 over par.

World number eight Viktor Hovland, Will Zalatoris and Hideki Matsuyama also missed the cut, as did Ian Poulter, playing on the co-sanctioned DP World Tour and PGA Tour event despite his defection to LIV Golf. Poulter finished 10 over.

But U.S. Open champion Fitzpatrick and Schauffele remain firmly in the hunt.

They are each four shots off the pace, though Fitzpatrick's 66 would have been even better if not for successive bogeys on his final two holes.

Schauffele went one better with a 65, his round starting at the 10th with an eagle and ending with a well-executed chip in for birdie at the par-three ninth.

Jordan Smith is also three under after his second round, the Englishman winning himself and his caddie a car with a hole-in-one on the 17th, only to follow it with a closing bogey and card a 69.

Tringale's American compatriots Gary Woodland and Doug Ghim are his closest challengers on four under.

Ghim is in position to secure a place at St Andrews as the highest-placed player not already sure of a place in the field. Kurt Kitayama (three under) and Rafa Cabrera Bello (two under) would also qualify as it stands.

Collin Morikawa has flatly dismissed talk that he could join the exodus from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The Open champion and former US PGA winner had been linked in some reports as a player that might switch allegiance, but the 25-year-old American said that simply is not true.

Morikawa, who finished tied for fifth place at the U.S. Open last week, issued his denial on Twitter.

He wrote: "Last week at my press conference, I said the media loves creating drama. Sure enough, I woke up this morning to everyone thinking I'm next. Not to say I told you so but…I told you so.

"To state for the record, once again, you all are absolutely wrong. I've said it since February at Riviera that I'm here to stay on the @PGATOUR and nothing has changed. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some cereal to pour in my milk."

The Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway competition, which started earlier in June in London, has already drawn major-winning big names including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.

Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed followed suit to play in LIV Golf tournaments, with all participants aware they would be indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour.

The 'rebel' players were still allowed to play the U.S. Open, where four-time major winner Brooks Koepka said he was "tired of conversations", arguing LIV Golf debates were "throwing a black cloud" over the third major of 2022.

Now Koepka is said to have agreed a switch to LIV Golf, where players have been richly rewarded for agreeing to join the series, although he has yet to confirm the move.

Widespread reports have said Koepka will play the 54-hole tournament in Portland, Oregon, that runs from June 30 to July 2.

Collin Morikawa, the reigning champion of The Open, will head to St Andrews having learned from his experience at the U.S. Open.

Morikawa was among the favourites to clinch the season's third major at The Country Club this weekend, and was on course to challenge until carding a dismal 77 on Saturday.

He hit back with an impressive 65 on Sunday, though, putting him T5 at the time he went back into the clubhouse - only three off the lead.

While Morikawa required a huge slip up from all of the leaders to get him in contention for glory at Brookline, he was able to reflect on learning what he hopes will be a valuable lesson ahead of defending his Open title next month at St Andrews.

"I don't know if I found something. I think it just taught me that just go play golf," Morikawa told reporters.

"This year has been so much focused on trying to hit that cut and trying to be so perfect, and that's who I am, but just go out and play.

"Things are going to be tough. The ball is not going to go exactly where you want, but just figure it out.

"After this week it was a huge boost heading into the last little stretch of golf.

"I'm very excited. I think I'm going to have to really do a good job about prioritising every single day and splitting up what I need to focus on, whether it's the golf or whether I need to enjoy just being there at St. Andrews, being back as a defending champion.

"I think last year I was able to settle in a little quicker because I played the Scottish [Open] and you just kind of showed up. Time zones, everything, it was just go and play golf.

"This year I think there's going to be a couple more distractions just with being the defending champion and just knowing that it's such a golf-centred town, but that doesn't mean by Tuesday midday all I'll be focusing on is golf."

Morikawa went round in 69 on Thursday and built on that impressive start with a 66 in his second round in Massachusetts, yet it all fell apart on Saturday.

"I didn't see it coming. I think when you are playing well, you'll make doubles, right, and doubles aren't acceptable, just like three-putts," added Morikawa, who already has two major titles under his belt by the age of 25.

"Yesterday with two doubles, you just can't play with that. I know you can kind of rebound from that, and I think Scottie [Scheffler] kind of bounced back and still kept himself around there, but I just... the game and the approach shots and just off the tee, I was playing out of the rough yesterday, which is just impossible at a U.S. Open to play well and to hold and maintain pars.

"So I didn't think it was coming. I hope many seven-overs aren't coming in the future, but it just kind of made me refocus and kind of just get back into things, right, and just really start from the tee, get it in the fairway, and then worry about it from there."

Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick share the lead coming into the final round at the U.S. Open, finishing a tough Saturday on four-under par at Brookline.

Only nine players at this third major of the year have scores under par after 54 holes at the Country Club, and the tied lead between Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick only came after Jon Rahm's dreadful final hole in overcast and blustery conditions.

The world number two had the outright lead coming into his final hole on moving day, but three consecutive bunker shots and a two-putt led to a double-bogey on the par-four 18th and three-under after 54.

Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick have not won as professionals in the United States, with the former agonisingly finishing second at the 2021 Masters and this year's PGA Championship.

With Zalatoris finishing his round earlier in the day, Rahm finished as the conditions further cooled, placing particular difficulty on the approach to the green with club selection.

A visibly frustrated Rahm was able to compensate with some exceptional putting on the back nine, however, sinking a long birdie putt on the 14th to put him level with the two leaders. Three birdies between 14 and 17 were undone by the last hole, however.

Scottie Scheffler recovered from a double-bogey and three consecutive bogeys between 11 and 14 to finish Saturday on two-under, securing a birdie on the 17th before a massive par save on the last after hitting the bunker.

The usually stoic Scheffler did not hide his emotions with a triumphant fist-pump after the save, which left the world number one tied with Adam Hadwin and Keegan Bradley.

Joel Dahmen and Collin Morikawa fell down the leaderboard after opening Saturday with the lead on five-under. Morikawa's natural left-to-right game particularly suffered, shooting a seven-over 77.

Dahmen is joined on one-under by Sam Burns and Rory McIlroy, who only made seven greens in regulation but stayed in contention with a string of saves on the back nine.

 

Shot of the day

After two birdies and a bogey through his first seven holes, Scheffler really shone on the eighth.

His stunning eagle on the par-five hole saw him leap into a two-shot lead at the summit of the leaderboard.

Player of the day - Will Zalatoris

In a day characterised by survival in blustery conditions at Brookline, Will Zalatoris was one of the few on Saturday who thrived.

His ball-striking shone on an overcast day, scoring only one bogey as the rest of the field struggled to find the green.

 

Chipping in

Zalatoris: "Yeah, that was brutal. When I made a mistake, I made sure I was on the fat side of the green or having room where I could maybe at least chip one up there from eight to 10 feet."

Scheffler: "There's a lot of trees on this golf course, and it's gusty as well. So it's definitely unpredictable. I think that's what happens when you get these foresty golf courses, and then with the gusts, I mean, that little golf ball is just getting thrown around all over the place." 

 

A little birdie told me...

- Victory on Sunday would see Fitzpatrick emulate Jack Nicklaus, winning the U.S. Open at the same course he won the U.S. Amateur, after beating Oliver Goss at the Country Club in 2013.

Joel Dahmen is a surprise co-leader with Collin Morikawa after 36 holes of the U.S. Open at The Country Club – and he was contemplating skipping the qualifier.

Dahmen, 34, is one of three players to shoot 68 or better in both rounds, finishing the first round one off the lead after a 67, before backing it up with a 68 on Friday. Hayden Buckley and Aaron Wise both posted a pair of 68s, and are one stroke off the lead in a tie for third.

In his second trip around the course, Dahmen had a strong front nine, birdieing the first hole as well as the fifth and eighth, with a bogey on the second. He started the back nine poorly, with a bogey on 10, but followed it with seven pars and a long birdie putt.

Speaking to the media after his round, he confirmed the story that he almost pulled out of the qualifier where he punched his ticket.

"There was a lot of discussion leading up to it, yeah, the prior week," he said. "I told my wife I wasn't going to do it.

"Then I was tired at Memorial and said I wasn't going to do it. I was never really going to do it until I… sort of played better at Memorial and the game was there.

"My coach, Rob Rashell, came out and things started to trend in the right direction. And then [my caddie] Geno [Bonnalie], I felt bad because he didn't switch his flight when he could have got home Sunday night, so at that point I had to stick it out."

Clearly, he is thrilled with his decision.

"I'm incredibly happy now for sure," he said. "I mean, sometimes you take for granted what you have out here a little bit. 

"I think this is my eighth or ninth major championship, and you think not long ago I would have done a lot of things to play in one, and to think that I have an opportunity just to skip one, kind of looking back, even this whole week, you don't appreciate really.

"I've played 130-odd events. I've been six years out here. It's easy to get in a lull and be like, you just go home for two weeks and hang out and everything is all hunky-dory, but when you get here, everything changes as soon as you get on property. 

"It's a USGA event. It's huge. People everywhere. So, yeah, that changes your mind pretty quickly."

After finding some form recently, Dahmen said he is starting to encounter fans who know who he is – something he does not believe will ever feel normal.

"It is unbelievable to me how many people know my name or yell for me out there," he said. "It's weird. 

"I'm getting recognized a little bit more off the golf course – my wife will look at me, like, what is happening? 

"It's not normal. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it, but it comes with good golf."

Collin Morikawa said he feels he is becoming a more complete golfer after ditching the traditional 'cut' action to his shots in favour of a 'draw' in a bid to rediscover some form, shooting Friday's round of the day.

Morikawa was the only player to shoot 66 in the second round, backing up his Thursday 69 to hold a share of the lead heading into the weekend, along with Joel Dahmen.

To get to five under, Morikawa produced a bogey-free, three-under back nine, collecting birdies on 12, 14 and 17. His only bogey on the day came at the par-four fourth hole.

When asked if he plans on making a full-time switch to his new swing style, he pushed back, saying he instead sees it like another tool in his belt.

"No – [but] that's a great question," he said. "I think what it proves is just that you can play this game with many shots.

"I remember the first time I played with Tiger, and he hit every shot that called for it. Pin is on the right; you hit a little cut. Pin is on the left; you hit a little draw.

"I think this is just going to hopefully make my iron play and make my game a little bit more well-rounded rather than just hitting a cut – but this week we're just going to work with what we have, and right now it's a little baby draw."

Morikawa was also thankful for not copping the brunt of the weather.

"Yesterday I said I thought I'd see a 66, even a 65 from those afternoon guys – the winds picked up," he said.

"Today I thought a couple under was going to be a really good score just based on what the wind forecast was going to be like, but we got lucky.

"I finally got a good side of the draw, and it kind of calmed down a little bit on a couple holes, especially when we made the turn on to the front side. 

"I didn't take advantage, but it was nice to see some decent weather kind of fall my way. A lot of the day kind of calmed down, was really nice, really sunny."

He went on to discuss how the course is playing in a tricky way, but that there are still opportunities.

"Fairways are bouncy, and you've got to keep it in the fairways out here," he said.

"You can play out of the first cut, but you get five, six, seven yards off the fairway, you're going to be trying to run up to greens, and sometimes you can't do that out here.

"But for the most part the greens are still – I'd say they're receptive. There was probably two or three greens out here that are getting a little bouncy, and you really have to make sure you hit your spots. 

"But for the most part if you're playing out of the fairway, you have a good shot at staying somewhat aggressive to some of these pins."

Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen are the 36-hole leaders of the U.S. Open after an entertaining second round at The Country Club on Friday, tied at five under.

Dahmen was one stroke off the lead after the first round, and he followed it up with a strong 68 in windy conditions. He is one of three players to shoot 68 or better in the opening two rounds. Morikawa came into the day at one under, and shot the round of the day as the only player to get around in 66. 

One stroke back from the lead is a five-man group headlined by stars Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, along with American duo Hayden Buckley and Aaron Wise. Buckley and Wise were the two players along Dahmen to shoot back-to-back 68s.

Beau Hossler joined that group at four under thanks to a chip-in birdie on his final hole.

World number one Scottie Scheffler is part of the group at three under, and he shared the early clubhouse lead following a three-under 67. He is joined by Nick Hardy, Matthew NeSmith, Patrick Rodgers and Brian Harman to round out the top-10.

Overnight leader Adam Hadwin is a further shot back at two under with Sam Burns and Matt Fitzpatrick, while South Africa's M.J. Daffue – who was three strokes clear atop the leaderboard early in his round at six under – posted five bogeys and no birdies down the back nine to head into the weekend at one under.

Also at one under are hopefuls Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris, still well within striking distance, while Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka headline the group at even par.

Star-studded duo Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are at one over, and the pair of Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau are at two over, one stroke clear of the cut-line.

Finishing right on the cut-line at three over was recent winner Lee Kyoung-hoon and Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, who has a pair of top-three finishes this season.

Plenty of big names missed the cut, with the international contingent of Spain's Sergio Garcia, Ireland's Shane Lowry, Chile's Mito Pereira and Canada's Corey Conners all one shot out at four over. Tony Finau finished five over, Cameron Smith was six over, and the pair of Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland were both at seven over.

 

Shot of the day

Cameron Young had a moment he will never forget when he conjured up a hole-in-one at the par-three sixth.

There were huge cheers after the American's dream tee shot at the 165-yard hole dropped in. Young was unable to make the cut – missing out by one stroke – but not without achieving a rare feat.

Player of the day - Collin Morikawa

Morikawa produced the round of the day to ensure he is the man to catch heading into the weekend.

The two-time major winner was not at his brilliant best, but five birdies and just the one bogey at the par-five fourth putting him in the lead.

Chipping in

Morikawa: "No one has taken it deep so far and kind of run away, but you know what, right now my game feels really good. The last few days is a huge confidence booster for me heading into this weekend, and hopefully we can kind of make some separation somehow."

Scheffler: "I've been number one in the world for a while now, and it doesn't really feel like it, so I kind of like just under the radar. I can show up and do my thing and then go home and rest."

 

A little birdie told me...

- Young's ace was the 48th in US Open history.

- Nick Hardy and M.J. Daffue emerged from the Springfield, Ohio qualifying. They both held a share of the lead on Friday.

- Scheffler is bidding to become only the second player to win this major while world number one since the Official World Golf Rankings began in 1986. Tiger Woods (2000, 2002 and 2008) is the only man to achieved that.

- Matthew Fitzpatrick is looking to emulate Jack Nicklaus by winning the US Amateur and US Open on the same course.

World number three Cameron Smith headlines a six-way tie atop the Memorial Tournament leaderboard after Thursday's first round at Muirfield Village.

Smith is joined by American trio Luke List, Cameron Young and Davis Riley, as well as Canada's Mackenzie Hughes and South Korea's Lee Kyoung-hoon.

It is the largest leading group after the first round in tournament history, but they all got to their five-under 67 in different ways. 

Young finished the day second in average driving distance (316.8 yards), behind only Jon Rahm, while Lee, Hughes and Smith finished top-six in putts-per-green-in-regulation.

List was the only member of the leading group to finish with less than two bogeys, and Riley played an all-round game; top-15 in driving distance while being dialled in with his putter down the back-nine, going five-under from the 11th hole to the 17th.

US PGA Championship runner-up Will Zalatoris is part of the three-man group one stroke off the lead, while Max Homa and Canada's Corey Conners are in the logjam at three under.

A star-studded group finished with a two-under 70, including Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Im Sung-jae, while Chile's Joaquin Neimann is with Collin Morikawa and Jason Day at one under.

Patrick Cantlay and Rahm were even-par, Mito Pereira will need a solid second round to make the cut after a one-over finish, and Hideki Matsuyama was handed his first career disqualification for using a wood with paint on its face – deemed illegal. He was three over at the time of the incident.

Sam Burns drained a putt from off the green to win the Charles Schwab Challenge in a playoff against world number one Scottie Scheffler.

Despite making no birdies on Sunday, Scheffler was in contention all day after entering the day in the outright lead, but had to battle with the difficult conditions later in the day to post a 72.

Burns was in much better touch, and had the benefit of getting his 18 holes out of the way earlier before the wind picked up, notching a 65 for the round of the day. 

He was one shot back from a four-way tie at 10 under when he finished his tournament at nine under, and he had to wait two hours to find out – first if the field would come back to him – and then if Scheffler could hold on for the playoff.

Scheffler needed to save a number of tough pars down the back nine, including out of the bunker on the 18th hole to force the playoff, which he did by sinking a clutch five-footer.

In the playoff, after a pair of solid drives, Scheffler found the green a long way from the hole, while Burns put his approach just off the back of the putting surface. Approaching three hours since his last putt, Burns drained an incredible tournament-winner, with Scheffler not able to match him from distance.

Speaking to the media after securing the win, Burns said it was a hard-fought result.

"I think, just with the conditions today, and how tough it was playing, I'm just so proud of the way we hung in there," he said.

"I just played such a good round of golf today, and [caddie] Travis [Perkins] did a good job of keeping us in it, especially after hitting a foul ball at 12 which killed our momentum. Hitting that putt – that's just icing on the cake."

It is 11 years since Burns attended Colonial Country Club in person to witness David Toms win the Crowne Plaza Invitational, and he said it is hard to believe he is a champion at the same course.

"I don't know if I would've believed you – I remember that week like it was yesterday," he said.

"To finish it off here, and have [Toms'] family here… to add my name on that list now is really cool."

Scheffler's playing partner Brendon Todd finished one stroke outside the playoff, alone in third at eight under, while American trio Tony Finau, Davis Riley and Scott Stallings collected top-five finishes, tied for fourth at seven under. Finau and Burns were the only two players to shoot 67 or better in the final two rounds as the conditions worsened throughout the weekend.

A strong group rounded out the top-10, with pre-tournament favourite Jordan Spieth and US PGA Championship main character Mito Pereira headlining the five-man bunching in a tie for seventh at five under,

Spieth, Riley and Im Sung-jae – who was part of the logjam at three under – were the only three players to shoot 70 or better in all four rounds.

Norway's Victor Hovland was one of two players to finish at two under, while New Zealand's Danny Lee tied Burns for the round of the day, with his Sunday 65 bringing him to one under for the tournament.

Harold Varner III was part of the four-way tie for the lead at 10 under through 11 holes, but went triple-bogey, double-bogey, triple-bogey over his next three holes to plunge down the leaderboard and finish at even par.

Talor Gooch and Webb Simpson joined him at even par, Tommy Fleetwood finished at one over, and Collin Morikawa never shot worse than 71, but never shot better than 70 to finish two over.

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